To Plant a Garden

It’s easy to get caught up in the fun of the here and now when thinking of autumn activities. However, if you want to plant a garden that is a sanctuary for bees, butterflies and other pollinators come spring, now is the perfect time to do it. I have always wanted to have an area of my garden dedicated to a wildflower meadow… Although “meadow” would be a very generous term for the space I have! I’m making plans and taking steps now to create an environment that will be filled with beauty and biodiversity by next year.

Common UK Butterfly species illustrations
The UK is home to many beautiful species of butterfly. However, butterfly numbers will continue to decline if we don’t provide habitats for them!

Why is it important to support pollinators?

Bees and butterflies aren’t just pretty, flying scene-setters for summer walks and picnics. As pollinators they work hard moving pollen between plants. This is essential to help plants grow, produce fruit and create more plants! The effects of the work done by pollinators can be felt all the way up the food chain. This means bees and butterflies affect the food that ends up on our dinner table. Plus, they’re just really cute! Did you know that bees dance to communicate and make a whoop noise when they bump into things?

Bees and butterflies have both experienced declining numbers in recent years. One of the best ways to support them is to plant a garden with plenty of biodiversity. By planting wildflowers that are bee and butterfly friendly, you can provide them with a welcoming and nourishing habitat.

Common UK Bee species illustrations
Keep an eye out for these species of bee in your wildflower garden.

To plant a garden for pollinators

It is best to sow wildflower seed mixes directly onto bare ground after removing all other plants and weeds. This will give the seeds the best chance of sprouting and means that autumn is a perfect time for gardening. In autumn the soil still retains some warmth from the summer, even as the days are getting cooler. This means that the wildflower seeds will be able to safely overwinter and sprout early in the spring. Instead of later in the year towards summer. Having early sprouting plants in your garden is a plus for pollinators, as it provides nectar for any early emerging species. It also means that your garden will be looking bright and beautiful for absolutely as long as it can!

Illustration of a garden transformation from autumn to spring
Gardens in autumn and winter can be a little uninspiring. But in a just a few short months your careful preparations could create a beautiful haven for wildlife!

The warm autumn soil is also recommended for sowing bulbs that flower early in the year, such as crocuses, daffodils and snowdrops. Ready-made, pollinator-friendly wildflower mixes are perfect for some quick and beautiful biodiversity, but if you want to be more active in choosing what to plant in your garden, you can use the RHS plants for pollinators lists. These lists are based on scientific evidence, with input from gardeners and beekeepers, and are reviewed every year to consider new research or requests from the public.

UK wildflowers illustration
These are a few of the UK’s native wildflowers which are perfect for pollinators and recommended by the RHS. Wildflowers prefer to grow in poor quality soil so there’s no need to spend any money on expensive compost!

What can be done for pollinators now?

To plant a garden with wildflowers is an autumn activity that is rewarding in the spring. But you can also help out some late-flying bee species right now. By leaving longer patches of grass or piles of autumn leaves, you’ll provide nesting places for bees to hibernate in. If you’re worried about disturbing a leaf pile, you can try building a more permanent hibernation option, such as a log pile or stumpery. The upright logs of a stumpery are fantastic for encouraging wildlife, as they are a welcoming habitat for many insects as well as lichens and mosses!

Illustration of a stumpery
Adding dead wood or a “stumpery” to your garden creates a wonderful habitat for insects!

Customised notebooks for gardening

I’ve been having some trouble tying together my plans for autumn planting with my hopes for my garden next year. Luckily for me, the Billy Gift customised notebooks have the option to choose dotted pages. I love these pages for when I want to add both words and pictures to notebooks. With dotted pages and bujo, I can design my garden’s layout and keep track of what I’ve planted and when in the same place. I’m also looking forward to adding sketches and cuttings when my plants bloom in spring!

Billy’s Kaleidoscope or Bee Sigil notebooks are a fun choice for a pollinator themed gardening journal. Personally, I have my eye on the rambling rose design, which is similar to how I would like my own garden to look one day.

Photographs of our recommended notebook designs
On the left: Kaleidoscope Customisable Notebook On the right: Bee Sigil Customisable Notebook

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